It’s one of the hardest times in life – after a debilitating accident. No one wants to be in this situation, but what if you are? You don’t have to go it alone. Because negotiating with the insurance company to try to get your bills covered just as your policy should be designed to do, can feel like David phoning up Goliath to try to make a deal. There are personal injury attorneys who spend years specializing in these kinds of situations. Sometimes all it takes is having one represent you to start a process in motion that would lead to a very different outcome than if you were to try to work with insurers yourself. For a list of questions to help you decide if an attorney can help you, click here.
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How liability is determined in an accident case
How is liability determined in an accident case?
Liability means legal responsibility for one's acts or omissions. The failure of a person or entity to meet that responsibility leaves them open to a lawsuit for any resulting damages. In order to win a lawsuit the injured party, called the plaintiff, must prove the legal liability of the defendant if the plaintiff's allegations are shown to be true. To achieve this, the plaintiff must provide evidence of the duty to act, the failure to fulfill that duty, and the connection, called the proximate cause, of that failure to injury or harm to the plaintiff.
What evidence can be used to prove liability?
After a motor vehicle collision, it is crucial to prove to an insurance company who was liable. The best way to prove liability is by supporting your side of the story with evidence that can include:
- The police report: If an accident involved injuries, police will typically come to the crash scene and complete an official report. After a crash, be sure to request a copy of the police report once it is filed, which can take a few weeks. The police report usually contains evidence about liability and can be the best documentation you can provide to an insurance company.
- Photos of the accident scene: If possible, after an accident it is a good idea to take photos of the scene including any skid marks, the damaged vehicles, and the general area including traffic signs and signals. These photos can be useful as supportive evidence to demonstrate liability.
- No-Fault Auto Accident Liability: Certain types of accidents are typically considered to be one driver’s fault, including rear-end collisions, since drivers are required to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them, even if that vehicle stops suddenly.
- Traffic laws: State traffic laws are often supportive evidence of fault in a traffic accident. When a crash happens because the at-fault driver failed to follow a traffic law, it is easy to find a copy of the state vehicle code to demonstrate their liability.
For any accident resulting in injuries, it is best to get help from an experienced injury lawyer who will collect evidence and effectively present it to an insurance company. And if an insurance adjuster denies the liability of their insured or offers a small settlement, an injury lawyer will take the claim before a judge and jury to obtain a full verdict.
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